Edward Hernandez of Killeen and Jennifer Watson of Moody are U.S. military veterans who received 3M Hire Our Heroes tool grants valued at $4,500 each. Hernandez also received a $2,000 scholarship from the 3M Hire Our Heroes fund.
Hernandez is studying in TSTC's refinishing specialization.
He said receiving the tools is a relief.
"Now you just worry about getting the job and starting work right away," he said.
Hernandez came to TSTC because he always wanted to learn how to paint vehicles.
"This is my second life right now," he said.
Watson was a helicopter mechanic in the Army and worked at DynCorp (now DynCorp International) before coming to TSTC.
"Coming into a completely new career, I realized the tools I have are not useful," she said. "I have to build a new tool inventory now. For me, it's a passion."
Samuel Patterson of Waxahachie graduated from TSTC's Auto Collision and Management Technology program in April.
He recently received a Sears Votech tool grant, which includes an industry-size toolbox. He was surprised when he opened his new toolbox and saw an assortment of drill bits, wrenches, sockets and other items.
"I am stoked, really excited," Patterson said.
He said in five years he wants to start his own collision, repair and refinishing shop.
"The main thing is I just want to work for myself," Patterson said.
The recognitions are sponsored by the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division and the Collision Repair Education Foundation.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.